A federal grand jurist pleaded guilty to obstructing justice on Tuesday after he allegedly filmed himself in the courtroom while serving on a Washington, D.C., panel and posted the videos to his public Instagram feed.
Prosecutors said the 28-year-old Washington resident, Alexander Hamilton, admitted to posting the videos to his Instagram story after he was sworn in on Sept. 9, 2022.
One of the videos allegedly documents his oath-taking. With his right hand raised, Hamilton looks down at his iPhone to say, “I’m about to lie,” according to court records.
Other videos show Hamilton criticizing the witnesses for being “snitches,” the records note, and advising his followers against using jailhouse phones.
He was arrested in November after submitting to an interview with FBI agents the month before.
In all, Hamilton illegally recorded parts of “at least 14 different grand jury investigations and at least 18 different witnesses,” per court records.
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to offer any more information when asked for clarity on whether Hamilton’s behavior impacted any of those cases.
Prosecutors said that Hamilton had some 10,400 followers on his Instagram page. As is typical, he was instructed to keep secret everything he saw and heard on the grand jury until a judge decided otherwise. The grand jurors were told they could only talk about the cases among themselves.
But Hamilton posted videos surreptitiously taken of the proceedings anyway, using one of two phones that he owned, according to prosecutors. Jurors are supposed to put their phones in lockers before arriving at the grand jury rooms.
“Sometimes you have to give out false information…Just to see who talks too much,” Hamilton wrote in a text post, per court records. Another post showed a video of the proceedings overlayed with images of rats.
Prosecutors said in a statement that Hamilton “demonstrated an awareness in numerous messages” that he knew what he was doing was not allowed. They asked a federal judge to dole out a prison sentence in the range of six months to three years at a hearing scheduled Nov. 29.